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Reports on trips taken in 2013.

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We apologize, many wonderful trips were taken in 2006, but no trip reports were submitted for posting to the website.

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2019 Trips (44)

Reports on trips taken in 2019.

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Monday, 11 November 2019 12:42

A Tidbit on Getting Away

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A Tidbit on Getting Away

I have often wondered why I have such a huge urge to get away, I think it has much to do with simplicity. A life on the road is simple when traveling with my small camper. I bring only a few possessions along – but each one is important to me. The clutter of my life is left behind and out of mind. My life back home is too filled with “stuff” - clothes I don’t need, shoes I never wear, junk drawers filled with things I don’t need, gadgets I don’t use, books and magazines I’ll never read. In my camper are just the things I really need; a few changes of clothes, food, a bed and gasoline to get me someplace. I have no mail no phone and no surprise company. I have no cable TV with 200 channels I don’t watch. There is one wastebasket to empty and everything has its place. On the road my life feels very uncomplicated, simple and manageable.

~ snipped and saved by Glen Shaw

Monday, 11 November 2019 12:36

Bob and Sue's New RV

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Bob and Sue's New RV

The last time we were in Oxnard we went to the Murphy Auto Museum. They were selling off some of their stuff as they lost their lease and are moving to a smaller building, so... I ended up with a 1924 Chevy RV-camper-motorhome.

Its something right out of “Grapes of Wrath.” It seems that the folks in charge of the El Garces in Needles are interested in displaying it there. Our hope is that this might be the start of a visitor canter and travel museum for Route 66. I’m sure they will need photo displays and information boards to complement everything. Your ideas and/ or suggestions as to how to move ahead would be appreciated. We’re not obligated yet, but do hope to get very involved if we feel the project is worthwhile.

~ Bob & Sue Jaussaud

What the Peppers Did on Their Spring Vacation

We started in Mobile, Alabama and auto-toured along the Gulf Coast including New Orleans and Lake Charles, Louisiana and Houston, Texas. Then on to San Antonio to explore the Alamo and River Walk. On to Big Bend National Park for hiking and bird watching to add to our personal “Big Year” along the Rio Grande. On to border towns El Paso and old mining town Douglas, Arizona. A highlight was visiting Camelback in Phoenix for a few days and exploring the Sonoran Desert around Lake Havesu City.

From Lake Havesu City we headed to Oatman, Arizona and Barstow along as much of the old U.S. Route 66 alignment as possible. Barstow was a great stopover for a rail fan but the highlight was visiting the Mojave River Valley Museum on Virginia Way where we are, of course, members. We explored some back roads into the Mojave then on to Morro Bay, a real seaside gem. More hiking and more birds.

We drove the Pacific Coast Highway with its one of a kind breathtaking vistas to Carmel where we had a romantic lunch (see, we aren’t too old yet!) at a little café, then on to San Francisco. Our daughter is there and we reacquainted ourselves with the City. It is desperately in need of major cleaning up, but it will always be a favorite. The three of us went to Sonoma for a long weekend tasting, walking, exploring and just enjoying.

From San Francisco, Sue had to fly home but I drove the Central Valley with its endless orchards and fields, across the Tehachapi and back into the Mojave. I visited Red Rock Canyon State Park, Inyokern and Searles Valley, and got buzzed by what looked like a bomber from China Lake. Then through the Panamint Valley into Death Valley NP. I saw the highlights at Stovepipe Wells, Furnace Creek and Bad Water Basin. I hiked some and, believe it or not, more birds! Could not visit Scotty’s Castle because of a road closure.

I went through Pahrump and up through Tonopah to little Warm Springs admiring the solitude of the Great Basin Desert. I picked up Nevada SR 375 (Extraterrestrial Highway) and stopped in Rachel at the A’Le’Inn for an Alien Burger, which was actually pretty good. No aircraft of any type from Area 51 were visible. But the desert was so vast and captivating.

I then chanced the West Salt Lake Desert along an original alignment of the Lincoln Highway through Callao, Fish Springs, past Dugway Proving Ground and Toelle and into Ogden. That is one of my favorite stretches of desert.

I was in Ogden for the Union Pacific Annual Conference and the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike. I did go to the site but on May 9. The May 10 celebration would have been nice but it was a zoo. I did get to see 4014, the refurbished Big Boy, in Ogden. I had seen it two years earlier in the UP Steam Shop in Cheyenne with the hinged front of the boiler still open. But they got the restoration completed, new paint job and all, and it ran under its own power to Ogden.

Just drove home from there, but I am really anxious to get back to the desert; still am looking forward to my first Desert Explorer’s trip!!! ~ Jerry Peppers

Monday, 11 November 2019 12:20

2019 - Trip Report - Fish Fork Hike - August 7 -8

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TRIP NOTES – FISH FORK HIKE – August 7-8, 2019

by Jean Hansen

Wednesday, August 7: Sunny & I left home at 2:30 p.m. and drove out to Blue Ridge road and then on down to Lupine campground in the Angeles National Forest. On the way down to Lupine campground, we saw two deer. Sunny got a very good picture of one of them. We camped at Lupine in a beautiful shaded spot. Of all the campgrounds we have stayed at through the years, this one ranks right up there with the most beautiful of them all. This campground is in a deep valley with very tall pine trees and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The temperature was perfect – about 80 degrees and in fact, we didn’t bring a heavy enough blanket and got a little cold in the camper that night. At happy hour we did have to spray with insect repellent, though.

Thursday, August 8: We hiked from camp at 8:30 a.m. and started up the hill for the Fish Fork falls hike. We did this hike about 30 years ago when we first moved to the high desert and at that time, did the whole hike in about 6 hours, including both upper and lower Fish Fork falls. Also, at that time, the trail was excellent and well used. This time, the trail was woefully degraded and overgrown, the signs were pretty much non-existent and there was buckthorn growing over the trail,which made for very difficult hiking.

I believe that this is due to that area being made the Sheep Mountain wilderness. However, we did manage to follow the trail up to Pine Mountain Ridge and then around and over to the feeder ridge for Fish Fork. At this point, the trail virtually disappeared. We debated turning around at this point, but decided to go ahead and descend into the canyon, hoping to pick up the (remembered from 30 years ago) trail to lower Fish Fork Falls. We struggled down the slope, taking much time to try to locate the “trail” and eventually, did get to the bottom of the canyon, where we encountered upper Fish Fork falls. We then walked a bit further and found the old campground for upper Fish Fork and the old sign. We stopped there to have lunch. After lunch, we had to decide if we wanted to try to go further to reach lower Fish Fork falls, but after some reconnaissance, realized the old trail was gone and further, the whole canyon bottom was now very overgrown and for us, impassable. We just didn’t have time to even try to reach the lower falls, so regretfully, we turned around and retraced our steps. The total hike we did today was 8.5 miles round-trip. We made it back to camp at 5:00p.m. and since I hadn’t packed a second dinner, we decided to go back home that evening. The drive up and out on Blue Ridge was spectacular, as always.

~ Jean

Monday, 11 November 2019 12:03


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Deborah Nakamoto had some photos of bugs she identified that she wanted to share. Most people don’t notice these little guys.

“These 17 bugs are some of the more interesting ones I’ve seen so far this year on different camping trips and hikes. I’m trying to learn their names, not just “beetle” or “spider,” with much help from the experts in the Insect Identification group on Facebook”


A: Wolf Spider (Lycosidae family), Kofa NWR, Arizona

B: Desert Spider Beetle (Cysteodemus armatus), Joshua Tree NP. This is a type of blister beetle that can secrete a caustic, blistering chemical from its joints to defend itself.

C: Velvet Ant (Mutillidae family), San Gabriel Mountains, This is not an ant, but a wingless wasp with a very powerful sting. It’s funny how a little fuzz can make anything look cute!

D: Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma sp.), Anza Borrego Desert SP. I have video of one attacking a white-lined sphinx caterpillar.

E: Wooly Darkling Beetle (Eleodes osculans), Santa Monica Mountains. More fuzz equals more cuteness for this little stinker.

F: False Blister Beetle (Asclera excavata), Santa Monica Mountains

G: Pacific Coast Ticks (Dermacentor occidentalis), Santa Monica Mountains. These two ticks, one on top of the other, are “questing” for a host to snag onto. These commonly seen parasites are a type of “hard” tick with pear-shaped bodies, a hard plate (scutellum) on the back, and mouth parts visible from the top. Hard ticks will feed on more than one host, so they go questing like these are doing.

H: Diabolical Ironclad Beetle (Phloeodes diabolicus), Santa Monica Mountains. Beetles in this genus have extremely hard shells, hence the name. I don’t know about “diabolical”: it’s harmless and plays dead when handled.


Monday, 11 November 2019 11:51

2019 - Trip Report - Two Week Alaskan Cruise

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Two Week Alaskan Cruise

by Mignon Slentz

In July my friend Robin and I were lucky enough to be the recipients of a free Holland- America cruise on the Amsterdam from Seattle, north to Alaska. We were originally supposed to accompany my elderly parents on the trip but my dad fell and broke his hip the month before. They cancelled but we didn’t!

First stop in Ketchikan where my friends met us and promptly took us to their daughter’s work place, The 49er Bar where I discovered I really like Bloody Marys.

We walked laps around the ship every morning to get in our 2 miles. Food was plentiful and good. We mainly walked around the different towns we docked at, sightseeing, shopping and always trying to have a beer in each “famous bar.”

It was my first time to visit Sitka and enjoyed the churches and Russian architecture. In Kodiak I got to meet for the first time a 2nd cousin of mine, Dake who is a fishing guide, photographer and tour guide. He actually took the photo of a cub eating a salmon that is on Kodiak’s visitor’s guide. ~ Mignon

Santa Clara River Valley and “The Nard”

By Bob Jaussaud

Sue and I love our life on the desert, but the summertime heat wears us down. So a couple of years ago we started looking for a summer get-away in cooler climes. Before Neal Johns met Marian (when he still had suspiciously brown hair and enjoyed his life-sized doll named “Hope”) he lived in Oxnard, a place he called “the western edge of the East Mojave.” He seemed to like it there. didn’t work. Ron Lipari  and Mike  Vollmert also told us of the wonders of Oxnard. So, Sue and I made the trek to check out "The Nard," as locals call it. 

Of all things, we found a manufactured home in a senior park close to the ocean in a place called Hollywood Beach, so named because many motion picture companies filmed thier beach (and desert) scenes there in the early days.  Also, it’s where Rudolph Valentino had his beach cottage. Now we never once thought we would end up in a “senior park,” but the place was affordable ,looked pretty good, and we were over the minimum age of 55 (if only just barely). Ha!

To make a long story short, we bought our beach hide-away and really enjoy being there, especially when the desert is inhospitable. What a great life! We alternate between the beach and the desert, so there are a lot of trips back and forth. It became imperative that we figure out the best route between “the Nard” and Needles. The shortest way involved the 101, the 210, I-15 and I-40 but we quickly learned that the only time that route might not be jammed with traffic (especially the 101/405 junction) was early Sunday morning. Since I like to sleep in  we don't always travel on Sunday anyway, that didn't work. We tried all the other various route combinations to get through LA including the Antelope Valley Freeway and the Pearblossom Highway, but they all had various issues. We dreaded the trip until one casual day we started east from “The Nard” on Highway 126 leading through the Santa Clara River Valley. Now this is our favorite connecting route with the desert.

Highway 126 intersects with the I-5 near Santa Clarita and it is only a short way north from there to Gorman. From Gorman we follow Highway 138 through the Poppy Reserve to Highway 14 near Rosamond. After following 14 north to the town of Mojave, we head east on Highway 58 to Barstow and pick up the I-40 to Needles. It is a dream route that avoids LA completely. It does make the trip about 20 minutes longer, but that is time well spent in our view. The only possible bottleneck is at Kramer Junction and that won’t be the case for long as the new 58 freeway is almost completed. Happy Day!

If you try to Google our route please be aware that we go through the Santa Clara River Valley, not the Santa Clara Valley. The Santa Clara Valley runs southeast from San Francisco Bay and is part of the “South Bay”, a region known as "Silicon Valley". Defineately not our route. 

We never realized any place like the Santa Clara River Valley still existed in Southern California. What a gem! It is a beautiful farming valley nestled between the  Los Padres National Forest to the the north and the Santa Susana  Mountains to the south. The Santa Clara River flows through the valley and is one of the most natural rivers left in Southern California. Its headwaters are in the San Gabriel Mountains and its largest fork comes out of Aliso Canyon and flows west through Soledad Canyon. The Santa Clara River tributaries include Bouquet Creek, Piru Creek, San Francisquito Creek, Castaic Creek and Sespe Creek. The river continues west through citrus farms to the Oxnard Plain and the Pacific Ocean. Along the road west of Santa Clarita, paralleling the river, there are numerous old-time fruit stands and many historic buildings. In fact, the local tourism bureau is attempting to rename this valley “Heritage Valley.” Ugh! Personally I will always recognize it as the Santa Clara River Valley.

The valley was originally inhabited by Native Americans, the Tataviam on the east and the Chumash on the west. In 1769 the Spanish Portola Expedition camped in the valley while traveling through it. Franciscan missionary Fray Juan Crespi, a member of the expedition, named the valley Canada de Santa Clara. This valley route is part of El Camino Real (the King’s Highway) and early missionaries led by Father Junipero Serra passed through to establish Mission San Buenaventura in 1782. In 1874 Nathan Weston planted orange trees near what was to become Santa Paula. His groves could be accessed easily using the then new road just established connecting Inyo County mines with the new wharf at Hueneme. The valley was also the main stage coach route from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Fillmore was founded as a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad when they came through in 1887. The early 1900’s saw oil companies and motion picture companies establish themselves in the valley. Thankfully, the citrus groves have survived all this development and still dominate the  valley today. They even survived March 12, 1928 when the Santa Clarita River carried the collapsed St. Francis Dam flood waters to the ocean.

On our commutes through the Santa Clara River Valley we have discovered many wonderful things including the Fillmore & Western Railway Company, the Santa Clara “Little Red Schoolhouse” (built in 1896 and still in use today for K-6th grade), and the historic old towns of Piru, Fillmore and Santa Paula. One Saturday we stopped at Rancho Camulos, a National Historic Landmark and the setting for Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel, “Ramona.” Rancho Camulos is currently a working ranch and still belongs to the second owner’s family, the Rubels. The original owners were the Del Valles. As prominent Californios, they were deeded the 48,000  acre Mexican . land grant in 1839. August  Rubel  purchased Rancho Camulos from the Del Valles in 1924 and  today the ranch remains a good representation of Southern California agricultural life from 1853 to 1943. Near the historic barn there is even a gas and oil house circa 1910.  The Rancho is, as Huell Howser used to say, “a fine example of California’s Gold.”

When doing our Nard/Needles commute, we always stop at the Vista Del Lago Visitor Center off I-5 overlooking Pyramid Lake. The center is owned by the California Department of Water Resources and they have some wonderful displays there. On the east side of their parking lot there is a memorial to the Old Ridge Route which was the winding road connecting Los Angeles and Bakersfield over Tejon Pass from 1915 to 1933. It is possibly the reason California didn’t split into two states… but that is another story. ~ Bob

Monday, 11 November 2019 09:32

2019 - Trip Report - Death Valley in July

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Death Valley In July

By Jean Hansen

Trip Notes – Death Valley – July 2019


Tuesday, July 23: Sunny and I left home at about noon and drove out to Death Valley. On the way up Wildrose Canyon, we saw several burros. The tourists must feed them because they never moved – even when we pulled up next to them. We got lots of pictures. Then we continued on to:

• The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns: I never tire of seeing these. They are so unique and beautiful.

Then we drove on up to Mahogany Flat to camp. We had the campground all to ourselves at first. We had a nice happy hour with a great view looking out over Badwater. Then later, another car came in to camp. The temperature was perfect – about 83 degrees, but it was very buggy and we had to spray ourselves with insect repellent.

Wednesday, July 24: We left camp about 8:30 a.m. and drove back down the hill to the cutoff for:

• Flagstone foundation site: This was a very nice old site with beautifully done flagstone chimney, staircases and patio – all made of flagstones. Very nice. Then we crossed the canyon to see:

• Wildrose Canyon pictograph shelter: This is a small alcove about 100 feet above the road with about 10-12 small red pictographs in it, including several anthropomorphs. It was a nice little site. Then we drove further up the canyon and saw:

• Water tank: This was an old rock water tank built by the CCC in 1933. I got a picture of the inscription. Sunny and I walked about one half mile further up the canyon to see if we could find the mine, but found nothing. It was very humid and although not hot, it was wet and buggy. Once we got back to the truck, it started to rain a little. Then we drove out to:

• Emigrant Pass petroglyphs: On the way out we saw more burros. We stopped to check out the petroglyphs, which are quite nice and while we were there, it literally poured on us! What a treat, getting rained on in Death Valley.

Then we drove on out and down to Stovepipe Wells, where we went into the café and had lunch. After that we drove out of Death Valley via Highway 190. On the way to Ridgecrest, It rained a little. Then, we discovered that Caltrans had closed Highway 395 and we had to detour around on dirt roads to reach Ridgecrest, where we visited with Bill & Barbara Gossett. We left there about 8:30 and drove home, arriving around 10:30 pm. It was a great trip! ~ Jean

Monday, 11 November 2019 09:29

2019 - Trip Reports - Activities on a DE Trip

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Activities on a DE Trip

by Vicki Hill

We offer many things to keep us busy.

We enjoy it all and learn as we go.

No whining allowed. Cooperation is paramount.

At the end of the day we are left with wonderful memories!



Monday, 11 November 2019 09:23

2019 - DE Meeting Minutes, Saturday July 20, 2019

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Meeting Minutes Meeting Open 11:45 a.m. Regrets Deb & Steve Marschke, Mal & Jean Roode, Bill & Julie Smith, Bob & Sue Jaussaud Attending Neal & Marian Johns, Eileen & Terry Ogden, Ding & Allan Wicker, Jean & Sunny Hansen, Daniel Dick & Bobbie Sanchez, Nelson Miller, Axel Heller, Steve Richards & Esther, Jerry Dupree, Bob Jacoby Previous Minutes Approved Treasurer Bill Smith reported in absentia that the bills are paid and we have a balance of $5,350. Newsletter Jay Lawrence reported Saturday, July 20, 2019 everything is OK and thanks for the submissions. Don’t forget to get your free DE bumper stickers and business cards. We got ‘em, you need ‘em. Website Debbie was absent but the website is glorious and up-to-date. Museum Nelson reported that Bob Hilburn has passed on and left his collections to the museum. The museum is building an annex to the library and needs a cleanout party for Bob’s house. Rondy Pahrump looks like the place to go next year. Marian and Bob researched the Saddles West Casino for a Rondy HQ. No tent camping on-site, but plenty of areas close by. Special room rates promised at $75 per night, RV sites at either $26 or $32. There was some confusion and it will get sorted. Activities may include winery tours, Ash Meadows trip, Death Valley trips, Pahrump Museum and local trails. Jerry Dupree and Bob Jacoby will be going to check it out and get all the details. Trips We thrashed out a laundry list of trip ideas and matched up leaders for them. Most need more planning, but you can see the results of our labors on the trip calendar page of the newsletter. Next meeting Saturday, September 21 at Ding and Allan Wicker’s home. Adjourned 2:30 p.m.
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